Tonight’s Living the Questions discussion is about prayer. The course is in general very good, as well as being challenging and downright uncomfortable in places. I think it is useful for us to look carefully at our beliefs and our faith and to learn to accept that God is bigger and greater and deeper and nearer and further away than we will ever know.
There is homework to read through for each week, then the evening consists of looking at various speakers – theologians and ministers – on a DVD and discussing points raised with prompt questions to make it relevant to one own’s situation. Because it is done with other people it is a valuable opportunity to listen to another’s point of view. Quite apart from anything else it is fun. Not something that is usually thought of in connection with religion. There is a lot of laughter and there is the added benefit of getting to know other people.
I’ve just realised that this sounds a bit like an advert for the course. In years gone by it would have been my job as leader to arrange the evenings and try to ensure that everybody felt comfortable and had their say. Now that I am retired, I attend as an ordinary person, bringing my own thoughts and doubts and fears and no doubt bringing my own prejudices too. It is a valuable chance to spend time pondering my own walk of faith. The group is not clingy, cliquey or holier-than-thou, it has morphed into a collection of people who trust one another and feel safe to trust their hopes and dreams with each other.
I love the focus for tonight’s discussion; it says:
The idea of prayer as the primary method of interaction with God is best thought of as a way of life rather than an activity reserved for specific times, places, and formulas.
I am looking forward to it: can you tell?